The MusicNerd Q&A With Ron Sexsmith

Ron Sexsmith

He is revered by the likes of Elton John, Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello among others yet Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, for the most part, remains one of the country’s greatest unsung musical heroes.

With support from the Maritimes’ own Rose Cousins, Sexsmith is slated to perform a sold-out show this Saturday night at the Wilmot United Church as a part of the burgeoning Shivering Songs Festival.

MusicNerd.ca took the opportunity to chat with Sexsmith last week, the day after he turned 50 years old, about he day after he turned 50 years old about his latest record as well as doing things his way.

Happy belated birthday, Ron. Did you tear a strip off Toronto to celebrate hitting the half-century mark?

It was a very low-key kind of night because I didn’t want to make a big deal of it. My wife and I had some friends over. We spent the evening listening to music and singing songs. It was great.

When we last spoke, you told me how your 2011 record Long Player, Late Bloomer had attracted quite a bit of attention, specifically from the United Kingdom. Has your latest album, Forever Endeavour, met the same fate thus far?

I am extremely proud of the record but it hasn’t quite matched Long Player… in terms of continuing to grow my name. With my previous record, radio in the U.K. was a big supporter but with Forever Endeavour, we lost some of that momentum. I half-expected that we would though since there wasn’t really anything in the way of a single by radio standards on the album. All that being said, the tour we played in support of the record, including a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London, went really well. I am hoping my next album will make a bit more of a splash.

In one sense, it has to be incredibly freeing to make the albums you want to be making rather than capitalizing on some kind of formula that, while it may be successful, doesn’t necessarily represent who you are as a musician.

Not having runaway success have been a bit of a blessing because my record company tends to leave me to my own devices, for better and for worse. I was already in my 30’s when I signed my first record contract and though the company was pushing me to re-record my big label debut, I put my foot down and refused. Artists often complain about how the industry forces them to do something when in fact no one can really force anyone to do anything. Musicians need to stand up for their music and stay true to themselves.

 Article published in the January 23, 2014 edition of Here Magazine